Septic System Maintenance: Dos and Don’ts


Your septic system is an essential, yet often overlooked, part of your home’s plumbing infrastructure. It’s responsible for treating and disposing wastewater, and proper maintenance is crucial to avoid costly repairs and health hazards. In this article, we will explore the essential practices and precautions for maintaining a septic system and offer guidance to ensure the efficient operation of your system. Whether you’re an experienced emergency plumber or a responsible homeowner, these guidelines will assist you in protecting your investment and preserving your home’s environment.


1. Schedule Regular Inspections: One of the most critical dos in septic system maintenance is to have your system inspected regularly. An experienced plumber or a certified septic professional should conduct these inspections. Conducting inspections assists in the early detection of potential issues, thus averting significant complications and costly repairs in the future.

2. Pump Your Tank As Needed: Regular septic tank maintenance involves the periodic removal of accumulated solids, with the specific pumping schedule determined by factors such as tank size, household occupancy, and water consumption. It is advisable to seek guidance from a qualified plumber or septic specialist to establish the most suitable pumping routine for your system.

3. Conserve Water: Abundant water consumption can strain your septic system. Implement water-saving practices such as fixing leaky faucets, using high-efficiency appliances, and spreading laundry and dishwashers to avoid putting too much strain on your system.

4. Use Septic-Safe Products: Opt for septic-safe household products to avoid damaging the beneficial bacteria in your tank. This includes using biodegradable soaps and avoiding harsh chemicals that can disrupt the septic system’s microbial balance.

5. Be Mindful of What You Flush: It’s essential to refrain from flushing non-biodegradable items such as paper towels, sanitary products, and diapers. These items can cause clogs in your system and potentially result in the need for drain repairs. Limiting flushing to only human waste and toilet paper is essential for effective maintenance.


1. Don’t Overload Your System: Excessive water use, especially quickly, can overwhelm your septic system. Refrain from running multiple laundry loads or using the dishwasher simultaneously within a short time frame, as this can potentially cause drainage and filtration issues with the system.

2. Avoid parking or constructing anything over the septic tank and drainfield area: Ensure that heavy vehicles, buildings, and landscaping are kept at a distance from these crucial components of your septic system. These can compact the soil, damage the tank, or disrupt drainage.

3. Don’t Neglect Repairs: If you notice any issues, such as blocked drains, foul odours, or soggy spots in your yard, do not delay seeking help from an experienced plumber or a septic professional. Timely attention to problems can prevent costly repairs and protect your system’s integrity.

4. Don’t Pour Grease Down the Drain: The accumulation of grease and cooking oils in the pipes can result in blockages and necessitate drain repairs. The recommended approach is to gather and discard these substances in a separate container and place them in the trash.

5. Don’t Ignore Professional Maintenance: Relying on an experienced plumber or certified septic technician for routine maintenance is essential. DIY attempts at septic system maintenance can often lead to more problems than solutions.


6. Landscaping Considerations: When planning your landscaping, be mindful of the location of your septic tank and drainfield. Planting deep-rooted trees and shrubs over these areas can damage the pipes and infiltrators. Consult with a landscaper or septic professional for septic-friendly landscaping options.

7. Keep Records: Keep records of your septic system inspections, pumpings, and any maintenance or repairs performed. This documentation can be invaluable for tracking the health of your system, as well as for the potential resale of your property.

8. Educate Household Members: Ensure everyone understands septic system care’s dos and don’ts. Educating your family about water conservation, proper flushing practices, and regular maintenance can prevent accidental mishaps and system damage.


6. Chemical Additives: Avoid using septic tank additives or chemicals that claim to enhance the system’s performance. These can disrupt the natural bacterial balance in the tank and may not provide any significant benefits.

7. Delay Repairs: If you suspect an issue with your septic system, do not delay seeking professional assistance. Neglecting issues can result in more extensive damage and an increased repair cost.

8. Excessively Short Pumping Intervals: While it’s important to have your tank pumped regularly, don’t pump it too frequently. Overpumping can remove essential bacteria and solids, disrupting the system’s balance. Seek advice from a septic expert to establish the appropriate pumping timetable.


Following these supplementary guidelines for septic system care will help guarantee your septic system’s long-term durability and optimal performance. Regular inspections, proper water usage, and responsible practices are key to preventing common issues and costly repairs. Remember, your septic system’s well-being is in your hands, and with the help of experienced plumbers and septic professionals, you can maintain a healthy and functional septic system for years to come